MATCH REPORT: Hampshire CCC v Lancashire CCC
Openers Will Smith and Jimmy Adams prospered during a dominant day one for Hampshire against Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl today.
Smith, 99 not out overnight, and left-handed partner Adams took advantage of winning the toss as they shared 191 inside 69 overs in good batting conditions.
It was Hampshire’s highest opening stand of the season and their joint second highest stand for any wicket in matches against Lancashire.
They closed on 276-1 from 96 overs, with Tom Alsop also reaching 50 not out.
The Red Rose handed a debut to England under 19s quick Saqib Mahmood, who encouraged after overcoming some early nerves.
But they went wicketless through the opening two sessions of this Specsavers County Championship match and only struck in the 69th over of the day through Jordan Clark.
Lancashire did at least manage to keep the scoring rate in check on a day which saw no bowler leak runs.
Both openers posted season’s best scores, with Adams posting 88 off 202 balls and captain Smith 99 off 284.
“It’s a pretty good wicket, but if you put the ball in the right spot it’s hard to score,” said Clark, who returned figures of 1-40 from his 20 overs.
“You look at the scorecard and they have 276-1, but the run-rate’s not got away from us. That’s one positive out of the day.
“The wickets haven’t come, but all we can do is hang in there.
“I think the lads bowled pretty well, and there wasn’t too much slack given to the batters.
“They played well, but I don’t think there was much more we could have done - maybe make them play a little bit more.
“I’m quite happy with how I bowled. It was one of my more consistent spells. Hopefully it’s something I can memorise and try and build on.
“I don’t think the wicket’s going to get any worse. It could get better, and we’ll be pretty happy if it stays like that.”
The hosts reached lunch at 69-0 from 30 overs and 181-0 from 64, with Adams and Smith both bringing up their fifties in the afternoon.
Adams brought his up first, off 122 balls, and then Smith’s came off 147.
Mahmood, on Championship debut, bowled with excellent pace and had Smith, in particular, ducking and swaying on a couple of occasions with short balls.
There was a brief rain delay immediately after tea, although no overs were lost.
Smith, on 70, had a life shortly after the resumption when he edged Clark to Tom Smith at second slip, with the catch going down.
But the Cumbrian did not have to wait long as, in his next over - the 69th of the innings, he had Adams caught at point.
Their partnership was also the joint second highest partnership for any wicket against the Red Rose county.
Hampshire went beyond 200 in the 75th over, and by the time they took the new ball after 80, the visitors’ seven-man attack had combined to bowl 25 maidens in a score of 217-1. They bowled 27 in the day.
Smith and left-handed Alsop then ensured there was no further damage either side of the new ball being taken, sharing 85 unbroken inside 28 overs for the second wicket.
Alsop reached his fifty off 91 balls with eight fours in the final over of the day, including successive boundaries off Mahmood.
Smith will begin tomorrow one away from his first Championship century since September 2014 and his first in Division One since April 2013.